Nevada gambling revenue drops 2.9 percent to $887.6M in October, baccarat drops 22 percent

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LAS VEGAS — Nevada's casinos earned less in October than they did a year ago, dropping nearly 2.9 percent to $887.6 million for the month despite gamblers spending more money to play.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board released statistics Monday that show revenue from gambling dropped more than 5 percent on the Las Vegas Strip to $493.6 million.

The lucrative but volatile card game baccarat continued to drag down statewide figures dropping nearly 22 percent to $79.1 million during the month on top of an already significant drop a year ago. Both the amount spent playing baccarat and the percentage casinos kept was down for the month. Of the $26.1 million the state was off from last year, baccarat losses accounted for 84 percent.

Gamblers spent nearly $12.1 billion trying their luck on table games and slot machines during the month, up 1.8 percent compared to a year ago, but casinos kept less of it.

"That's tough to overcome," said Brent Pirosch, a gambling industry analyst with commercial brokerage firm CBRE, referring to the casino hold, essentially what it kept of what was gambled.

Pirosch has said he's still bullish on revenue improving from non-VIP gamblers. He said once baccarat is stripped out of longer-term trends, the year-to-date numbers show a slow but steady picture of improvement.

"I just don't see any reason to be alarmed," he said.

Nevada Gaming Control Board analyst Michael Lawton said that 10 months into the year, just three of the state's gambling markets are down, most notably the Las Vegas Strip — down 1.8 percent — and the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe, both significantly smaller markets. Removing baccarat from the equation, he said Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue is up 2.8 percent compared to a year ago so far.

In October, casinos also had roulette to blame, which dropped 45 percent to $18.3 million.

Parts of Nevada defied the October slide, including casinos in Washoe County which includes Reno, as well as Elko County and the Carson Valley area where gambling revenues picked up. Washoe County revenue rose 6 percent to nearly $68 million.

The state's sports books also had a healthy month, with bettors spending the second-highest amount ever recorded by the state and casinos keeping $33.6 million, up nearly 22 percent compared with a year ago.

The statistics show state taxes collected on gambling revenue dropped 22 percent to $52.3 million.

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